Gov. John Bel Edwards said on national television Tuesday night that he doesn't have time for politics that have started to consume discussions about the catastrophic flooding in Louisiana. He also said he personally asked the White House for President Barack Obama to hold off on visiting the state until this week when things were more settled.
"I didn't want to give up those first responders to secure the president on a visit, and to make sure that all of the intersections and the freeways were closed off," Edwards told NBC News’s Chuck Todd during an interview on MSNBC's MTP Daily. "So the president came this week. I think the visit was timely."
Edwards's MSNBC interview came just hours after Obama toured flood-stricken areas of East Baton Rouge Parish and met with flood victims, Edwards and other leaders and local responders.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged his commitment to a full recovery from floods that…
Obama had faced some criticism for not coming to Louisiana more quickly. He was on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts last week and had not commented publicly on the historic flooding until his more than three hour visit to Louisiana on Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump traveled to Louisiana on Friday.
On Tuesday, he tweeted that Obama's visit was: "Too little, too late!"
President Obama should have gone to Louisiana days ago, instead of golfing. Too little, too late!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she will come but has not announced a specific date or other details.
The timing of the visits has come under scrutiny in recent days as some have questioned why Trump showed up before the president.
"First of all, I don't have time for the politics right now. It's too divisive, it's too distracting," Edwards said when asked about the emerging political football. "And I have got a full-time job -- more than a full-time job trying to manage this response and if I can turn it into a recovery."
Gov. John Bel Edwards asked President Barack Obama for a wide range of flood relief Tuesday,…
He praised both Trump and Obama's visits.
"The president's visit I think was great today," Edwards said. "Mr. Trump's visit last Friday turned out to be a good thing as well."
President Barack Obama visited Baton Rouge on Tuesday, addressing the flooding that has left…
Edwards, a Democrat, also reiterated his praise for the federal response to the floods. Twenty parishes swiftly received federal disaster declarations, jump-starting the process for federal aid. At least 120,000 people have applied for individual assistance and FEMA says it has already approved $127 million in payments.
FEMA head Craig Fugate joined Obama on Tuesday's tour and has been in the state since last week. Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson also has visited flood-affected areas.
"We have received tremendous cooperation and assistance. And, quite frankly, the partnership has been terrific," Edwards said. "Had it not been, I guess I would have been in a bigger hurry for the president to visit."